Melbourne:Ricky Ponting says he will review his future as Australia captain and player after the conclusive Ashes loss, insisting he will act for the good of the team and not his own career.
England retained the Ashes on Australian soil for the first time in 24 years Wednesday after the home side was dealt an innings and 157-run loss in the fourth Test.
Ponting's captaincy has come under scrutiny in the light of the series result, his poor batting, a finger injury and his unseemly remonstrations with the on-field umpires about a reviewed decision Monday which resulted in a fine.
The No. 3 batsman underperformed at the wicket throughout the series and made just 10 runs in Australia's dismal first innings of 98 before managing 20 in the second.
Ponting said while much of his future is in the hands of the selectors, he acknowledges it may be time to review his Test career in the light of the team's performance this series. If Australia fails to win the final Test in Sydney to square the series, Ponting will be the first Australia captain to have lost three Ashes series.
"Whatever decision I make, it's really important it's for the betterment of Australian cricket," he said. "I want to keep playing, I would love to keep leading the team, I still think I've got a lot to offer in both those regards."
"It's got to be about the betterment of Australian cricket, it's never been about me. It's always been about the team and what's right for the team."
In 2005, Ponting became the first Australia captain to preside over an Ashes loss since Allan Border in 1986-1987. After regaining the urn in 2006-2007, he lost it again in England in 2009 before this summer's defeat.
"It's not much of a record so I probably wont be reflecting on that too much," Ponting said.
"The fact that I've lost those three series is disappointing for me," he said. "Hopefully I'm not only remembered as that guy, the guy that lost three Ashes series. There's lots of other great things I've been lucky to be able to be part of as a players throughout my career. This result is not one of my proudest."
Ponting's future in cricket could be beyond his control. He will speak with doctors later Wednesday after leaving the MCG Wednesday morning to have X-rays on his fractured left little finger, an injury which he carried into the fourth Test.
He is also not entirely confident of selection for the fifth and final Ashes Test starting Sunday in Sydney.
"The selectors are meeting this afternoon with a view of naming the team for Sydney," Ponting said. "It's out of my control. I can't think too much about it. I've tried my hardest over the last couple of weeks to try to play well and try to lead the team as well as possible. I've felt I've led the team as well as I can.
"I haven't performed the way I wanted to perform, but I certainly haven't done it without trying, that's for sure."
Ponting said England had shown Australia how to play good Test cricket this series and his team would do well to learn from it. Provided he's fit and selected, Ponting says he'll join an Australia side in Sydney with a lot to play for.
"We can go to Sydney with a chance of being able to level the series and regain some pride in the team performance, and also give the fans around Australia something to be proud of," he said. "That will be our whole focus from now till the end of the Sydney Test."